Senators are betting big on their young core
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The Ottawa Senators made some big news this week when they signed 20-year-old center Tim Stutzle to an eight-year, $66.8 million contract extension that runs through the end of the 2030-31 season. It is a whopping deal because A) he has only played two years in the NHL, and B) gives him the highest salary cap hit on the Senators’ roster.
That doesn’t necessarily make it a bad deal. Or even a risky deal. Even though Stutzle has just 132 games of NHL experience on his resume he has already shown enough potential (and production) to warrant a long-term investment. Add in the remaining year of his entry-level contract and the Senators have him under team control for another nine years.
One of the big questions with the Senators when this rebuild started was whether or not ownership would make a financial investment in keeping the core together (and adding to it) if it ever panned out. The 2017 team that reached the Eastern Conference Final was a pretty strong roster and was then rapidly ripped apart over the course of a year-and-a-half.
The Senators have not yet rebuilt into a contender, but they have settled at least one question: Whether or not they will invest in keeping their core together. Because they already done that in a big way by taking some significant long-term bets on their young players.